It’s not clear from these criticisms that senior Democrats understand the reasons for Ocasio-Cortez’s run, or her victory over incumbent Joe Crowley. One party aide told Politico that people “are afraid of her” and her viral tweets, a sentiment that reduces the congresswoman to emotion and affect. But her stardom has discernible origins that counter such a simplistic depiction of her rise to power. Ocasio-Cortez’s popularity is tied to her ideology, which incorporates both her policies and her hostility to establishment politics. She is an insurgent, and that’s exactly why people like her.
Despite efforts to characterize Ocasio-Cortez as a social media celebrity lacking in substance, during her first week in office she advanced left-wing ideas that generated vigorous debate and could garner widespread support. She’s become the most prominent congressional backer of a Green New Deal, which would transition the nation away from fossil fuels while creating jobs in more sustainable industries. It’s an ambitious idea, and while some 2020 contenders like Elizabeth Warren have said they back it in principle, House Democrats haven’t greeted it with universal enthusiasm. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded to Ocasio-Cortez’s call for a select committee on a climate change with a watered-down version “in the spirit” of the Green New Deal. This recalcitrance may be due to a combination of donor influence and the popularity of certain narratives about the rise of Donald Trump – namely, that he won office because people in places like central Appalachia believed he’d bring the coal industry back to life.
“She’s new here, feeling her way around,” Oregon Representative Kurt Schrader told Politico. “She doesn’t understand how the place works yet.” There’s an assumption here, a big one, that Ocasio-Cortez merely fails to understand “the place.” But maybe she does, and maybe voters do too. People don’t elect candidates like Ocasio-Cortez or Rashida Tlaib or Ayanna Pressley out of satisfaction with Washington D.C. Voters wanted to change the way the place works, not preserve it in amber for technocrats to come. Disruption is the point.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez(D-N.Y.) and her Republican critics have both called her proposal to dramatically increase America's highest tax rate "radical" but a new poll released Tuesday indicates that a majority of Americans agrees with the idea.
In the latest The Hill-HarrisX survey — conducted Jan. 12 and 13 after the newly elected congresswoman called for the U.S. to raise its highest tax rate to 70 percent — a sizable majority of registered voters, 59 percent, supports the concept.